Ganesha: The World Traveler

Whoever visited Japan, the city of Tokyo would have it on their bucket list. The city of Tokyo is known for many things, the word ‘toyo’ means ‘Eastern Capital’, the world’s busiest intersection, home to a robot hotel, and many more. From Central Tokyo 5 km away there is a city known as Taito. It’s the capital’s most minor municipal division but one of its richest in terms of history and traditional culture. After reaching Taito, if you take a walk for 2 km you will reach the temple of Matsuchiyama Shoden. It is where the deity Shoden worshipped. Vinayaka, the Buddhist coequal to Ganesha, is known in Japanese as Shōten implying “noble deva” or “sacred deva” and Kangiten “deva of bliss” and is worshipped in the Shingon and Tendai schools. The tradition of Tendai is mainly rooted in the study and little esoteric knowledge in the ritual for effects, but Shingon was entirely a form of esoteric Buddhism.

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The above remark is just an example in Thailand, Ganesha can be seen in the logo of the department of fine arts. In Tibet, he is related to the Chakrasamvara cycle of tantras. Chakrasamvara tantra (Binding of the Wheels) has the most extensive compilations of Buddhist Yoginītantra literature in the early medieval South Asian world, primarily comprised of ritual-yogic practices.   In Indonesia, he is on the National bank note as a symbol of bringing great economic prosperity. Therefore Ganesh can be called a global living traveler who stays in Buddhist-Hindu-Muslim countries at the same time but has various agencies. His multiple and contradictory qualities make it easy to adopt and adapt across cultural-religious boundaries by assimilating local sentiments and transforming them into newer forms. One of the reasons for the spread of Ganesha could be traced from the roots of traders and merchants who worshipped him, especially in the context of Maritime trade and the Silkroad. The time of the tenth century onwards was identified as the development of new networks of exchange, the formation of trade guilds and the circulation of money.

With the help of archaeology, stone and bronze statues of Ganesha were found in Cambodia dating back around the 6th or 7th century, which means long before the Khmer Empire accepted Hinduism and Buddhism as their official religions. Also, Ganesha idols have been unearthed in Vietnam, once part of the Khmer empire, it can be seen in Danang and Saigon Museum and Da Nang Museum of Cham Sculpture located in Hải Châu District, central Vietnam. But not just in Buddhism but in Jainism also Ganesha has great significance. A Jain scholar and philosopher

Hemachandra is the first person who mentioned Ganesha in the 12th century. He named Ganesha as Heramba, Vinayaka and Ganavignesa. Ninth century Jain temple at Mathura (Uttar Pradesh) has the earliest known image of Ganesha in Jainism, along with Ambika ( His mother, Parvati). Maybe it is his significance as the remover of obstacles, bringing good luck, patron of arts and science, and deva of wisdom and intellect which gives him the global force where various cultures and histories can mirror themselves through his qualities.

Pg;30- The Lands of Ganesh Essay Collection


  • Brown, Robert L. Ganesh: Studies of an Asian God. State University of New York Press, 1991.
  • Dokras, Dr. Uday. “The Lands of Ganesh.” Indo Nordic Author’s Collective, 1 Jan. 2021,
  • Krishna, Ramachandra Rao Saligrama. The Compendium on g·Aneśa. Sri Satguru Publications, 2005.
  • Varadpande, Manohar Laxman. Lord Ganesha. Shubhi Publications, 2011.

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